Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Kenneth Leighton: The World's Desire

Ever since meeting Kenneth Leighton in Glasgow some thirty three years ago I have retained much more than a soft spot for his music. Of course, to my mind his masterpiece is the 'early' Veris Gratia which was recorded on Chandos. In this concertante work he effectively out Finzis Finzi!
However, there is much else in his catalogue that is essential listening - for example the organ works and the piano music. Recently Chandos have embarked on a cycle of his orchestral music which is truly exiting.
The choral music is an essential part of the composer's canon and this present disc is to be welcomed. John Quinn has written an extensive review for MusicWeb International which is both informative and wholly complimentary. He begins his review by pointing out that the composer "was not a conventional, church-going believer [however] religious music was important to Kenneth Leighton and he composed some significant pieces of church music, as this CD makes abundantly clear. His experiences, in his formative years, as a chorister at Wakefield Cathedral stayed with him throughout his life..."

After an interesting overview of each of the works on this CD Quinn sums up his review by saying that "This is a superb disc...all the pieces included here were new to me and they make a strong impression. That is due not just to the high quality of the music but also to the tremendous performances that Matthew Owens and his Wells forces provide.

It is a disc that I look forward to listening to in the very near future. Perhaps at last Kenneth Leighton's star is in the ascendancy?
The full review can be found at MusicWeb International

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